Celebrating a 50-year anniversary with the family

Tom and Arlene Becker celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary after Tom coordinated an 18-day vacation in Palmer, Alaska, for their family " son David Becker, chief of the Johnson Lane Volunteer Fire Department, his wife Rosa and their sons Keith and Jarrod, and son Doug Becker, his wife Sandy and their daughters Carli and Jessalynn from Anaheim Hills, Calif.

This action-packed trip started when they landed in Juneau and took a boat tour of Glacier Bay where they saw lots of pods of killer whales. The next day they rode in kayaks around the bay and hiked around Mendenhall Glacier.

They were off on another plane to Fairbanks to a tour of the Arctic Circle and were off again for a train ride to Denali Park to stay in cabins at the Backcountry Lodge.

David took lots of photos of the bears at Wolverine Creek. Eight of them rode bicycles at Wonder Lake near Kankisha where a beaver waddled right out of the lake across the road in front of them like they weren't even there. They took a plane ride to Mt. McKinley which is famous for mountaineers. Did you know only about 25 percent of the people who go to see Mt. McKinley actually see the mountain because it is usually covered by clouds? They were in luck " it was a beautiful, brisk but fairly clear day to have great opportunities for photographs.

They surprised Jarrod on his 10th birthday on July 1 by touring the Iditarod Museum and taking a dogsled ride. Jarrod said it was his favorite part of the entire trip. David, Tom, Doug, Sandy, Keith, Carli and Jessalyn all did an ice climb at Matanuska Glacier. Almost to the bottom, Sandy got the crampon spike in her calf. She finished her descent but then they drove the rental car an hour to have 11 stitches put in her calf. They stayed to visit the reindeer/musk ox farm.

It sounds like they have done it all, but then they were off to hike, boat and bicycle ride at Eklutna Lake and Thunderbird Falls. In Girdwood, David, Rosa and the four children went on a four-hour ATV tour. In the morning they were out halibut fishing and caught their limit, nearly 400 pounds, before 1 p.m. David caught the largest halibut at 172 pounds, Rosa's was 125 pounds, Carli's catch was 94 pounds and was as long as she is tall. Jarrod reeled in one that weighed almost as much as he does.

On to Kachemak Bay for more hiking, kayaking and shopping. The next day they drove to Seward to cruise the Kenai Fjords. Could you have added anything else to this amazing trip?

If you want to see some of the 2,000 photos David took of the outstanding vacation, track him down at the firehouse. I know he'd love to share them. I was most impressed with the professional quality of the ones I saw, like they should be on display in a wildlife museum.

David wants me to let his parents know how much all of the family enjoyed this absolutely amazing vacation of a lifetime. They all thank you and love you very much. Happy 50th anniversary Tom and Arlene!


n Lisa Welch is a Johnson Lane resident and can be reached at 267-9350.

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